The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business will expand its Social Venture Consulting Program in partnership with Grassroots.org, an organization that provides free technologies and resources to nonprofits.
The innovative experiential learning program matches MBA students with nonprofit organizations around the country for semester-long consulting projects. Make Change! Trust provided a $120,000 grant to expand the program and the school’s Center for Social Value Creation is inviting students nationwide to participate.
Since 2006, the competitive program has served more than 75 organizations and involved nearly 300 students, providing MBAs with practical consulting experience and the opportunity to give back to their community.
The consulting projects range from creating marketing campaigns, to designing donor outreach, to building financial models. U.S. nonprofits served by Grassroots.org apply to the program each semester to receive the consulting work from MBA student teams at no charge. Make Change! Trust has supported the program since its inception.
“This program provides a valuable service to nonprofits around the country and gives our students the hands-on experience coming up with innovative solutions to solving social issues,” says G. “Anand” Anandalingam, dean of the business school.
“This type of experiential learning is what all MBA students need to develop as the next generation of leaders. We’re happy we can help provide this beyond Smith to students around the nation.”
Smith’s Center for Social Value Creation and Grassroots.org will support other business schools that apply to take part in the program with a database of projects to match with student consulting groups, templates for successful outcomes, and a knowledge toolkit.
The center will also provide ongoing advising to participants, much in the way center staff and faculty currently advise Smith student teams. Each consulting project is managed and completed by a group of three to five students.
“We are thrilled to be able to provide a greater number of nonprofits with capacity-building expertise,” says Melissa Carrier, executive director of the Center for Social Value Creation. “We’ve had tremendous success with our students and this program and we’re excited to replicate that success with MBAs at other schools.”